Time magazine was supposed to have an innocent little sit down with President Trump, but of course nothing involving the overlord of the White House can be innocent or easy or not involve the president threatening a Time reporter with prison.
According to CNN, during the interview with a team of reporters from Time magazine inside the Oval Office on Monday, Trump reportedly showed reporters a letter that he claimed was written by his new BFF and possible 2020 running mate Kim Jong Un.
The news only got to the masses on Thursday after Time published the interview transcription.
According to the transcript, in typical Trump fashion, the president was reportedly boasting about how the letter was written by the North Korean leader. “It was delivered to me yesterday. By hand,” he said and then asked to go off the record probably so he could praise their relationship and talk about what he planned on getting him in return. Hint: It’s a Fabergé egg made in the shape of Trump’s testicle.
A Time journalist, who I’m sure was all “I’m about to expose all this cuddling bullshit between these two dick-tators,” attempted to take a photo of the letter and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders, who has reportedly started wearing sweatpants and a half shirt to work because she really doesn’t give a shit anymore now that she’s announced she’s quitting, told the reporter, “You can’t take a picture of that, sorry.”
Later in the interview, the Time team brought up the fact that Trump tried to “limit Mueller’s Russia probe to only future election meddling.” One of the reporters (the transcript doesn’t say who) noted that Trump dictated a letter to a former aide, Corey Lewandowski, “telling him to tell” former attorney general Jeff Sessions “to limit the investigation.” The details were included in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The Time reporter said “he testified under oath under threat of prison time, that that was the case Mr. President.” Trump, cornered, did what he usually does: He lashed out and brought up the other letter, the one he had shown off earlier, from North Korea’s dictator.
Quoting from the transcript:
TRUMP: “Excuse me — Under Section II — Well, you can go to prison instead, because, if you use, if you use the photograph you took of the letter that I gave you —”
TIME: “Do you believe that people should be —”
TRUMP: “confidentially, I didn’t give it to you to take photographs of it — So don’t play that game with me. Let me just tell you something. You take a look —”
TIME: “I’m sorry, Mr. President. Were you threatening me with prison time?”
Trump then did the thing he does best where he’s simultaneously self-aggrandizing while being self-deprecating and hurt that he wasn’t the person of the year.
“Well,” he said, “I told you the following. I told you, you can look at this off-the-record. That doesn’t mean you take out your camera and start taking pictures of it. O.K.? So I hope you don’t have a picture of it. I know you were very quick to pull it out—even you were surprised to see that. You can’t do that stuff. So go have fun with your story. Because I’m sure it will be the 28th horrible story I have in TIME Magazine because I never—I mean—ha. It’s incredible. With all I’ve done and the success I’ve had, the way that TIME Magazine writes is absolutely incredible,” CNN reports.
Then the president continued his tangent about not being special. “Some day within the next 20 years,” he said, “maybe you’ll pick me as Man of the Year. O.K., big deal.” CNN notes that Trump was The “Person of the Year” in 2016 and he still ain’t happy.
Don’t worry, America, the inappropriate selfies of Kim Jong Un in states of undress included with the letter won’t ever see the light of day as Time won’t be publishing them since they were apart of the off-the-record conversation.
“At various points during the interview, the President asked to go off-the-record, and TIME is honoring those requests,” a spokeswoman told CNN.